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Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green suspension: Top questions

Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green suspension: Top questions

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has been suspended again for his on-court behavior, but this time it comes without a time frame for his return.

The NBA suspended Green indefinitely on Tuesday, one day after the four-time champion struck Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face in the third quarter of the Warriors’ 119-116 loss.

Green will be required to meet “certain league and team conditions” before he returns to play.

The decision to suspend Green comes less than a month after he was suspended for five games for putting Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert in a headlock during a Nov. 14 game.

Green has been ejected three times this season. In addition to the incidents against Phoenix and Minnesota, he was tossed on Nov. 11 for picking up two technical fouls against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There are big questions surrounding Green but also the Warriors. Golden State sits outside the Western Conference play-in in 11th place with a 10-13 record and will have to navigate the foreseeable future without one of its top stars.

Here is what we know and what’s next for Green and the Warriors:

Green’s history with suspensions

This is the sixth career suspension for Green and the second one this season. No other NBA player has received one this season.

Since Green received his first suspension — Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals for a flagrant foul 1 against LeBron James three days earlier — the league has repeatedly stated that Green’s history as a repeat offender plays a prominent role in determining his punishment.

After Green stomped on the chest of Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis in the first round of the playoffs last season (one-game suspension), NBA executive vice president and head of basketball operations Joe Dumars said Green’s “excessive and over-the-top actions” and his reaction after the game were instrumental in the ruling.

After that escapade, Green said his leg was grabbed and mocked the referee’s decision to eject him, saying, “I guess ankle grabbing is OK.”

Dumars reiterated Green’s history of unsportsmanlike conduct played a role in the five-game suspension after the Gobert incident. Speaking to reporters after he returned from that ban, Green said he didn’t regret his actions and was defending teammate Klay Thompson.

How long were the Warriors expecting this suspension to be?

The Warriors were bracing for a suspension but weren’t certain how severe it would be. With Green being suspended for five games a month ago, there was some expectation that this ban would be longer. But the indefinite ban surprised some in the organization.

Green, Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Green’s agent, Rich Paul, are expected to meet Thursday to discuss a path of counseling and assistance for Green to move forward, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The league avoided putting a specific number on the suspension to allow Green time to deal with the challenges he’s facing.

What have the Warriors said about his behavior?

After Green’s suspension for the Gobert headlock, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Green’s actions were “inexcusable.” It was the sharpest criticism Kerr had for Green, at least publicly, in any of his incidents.

“He took it too far,” Kerr said about that episode. “Draymond was wrong. He knows that. It’s a bad look, and the five games are deserved.”

Following Tuesday’s altercation with Nurkic, Kerr said: “We need him. We need Draymond. He knows that. … We’ve talked to him. He’s got to find a way to keep his poise and be out there for his teammates.”

But 13 years into Green’s career, the question is how? As Green swung and hit Nurkic in front of the Warriors’ bench in Phoenix, no one from Golden State jumped to his defense.

And during the Warriors’ postgame news conference, no one defended his actions. No one condemned them, either. Now the Warriors are in a holding pattern with Green, and patience is wearing thin over repeated altercations.

What’s the financial impact of Green’s suspension?

It depends on how many games Green — who was re-signed to a four-year, $100 million contract with a player option in the final season this summer — ultimately has to sit out.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Green will lose $153,941 per game if he is suspended fewer than 20 games. But if it’s more than 20 games, he’ll lose $202,922 per game.

With Green sidelined, the team will save on its luxury tax bill. At the very minimum, Golden State will save $519,555 toward the tax for every game Green is suspended, according to Marks.

There could also be roster implications for the Warriors. According to the collective bargaining agreement, if Green’s suspension lasts for six games or longer, he can be transferred from Golden State’s list of active players to a “suspended list.” This would drop the number of active roster members for the Warriors from 14 to 13, opening up a spot to sign another player.

Who in the lineup will take his place?

The question about the Warriors’ rotation was already on the table before Green’s suspension. But those conversations were about whether Thompson or Andrew Wiggins, both of whom have struggled this season in the starting lineup, should be replaced. The leading candidates for their minutes are Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and Brandin Podziemski.

Kerr is more likely to turn to Kuminga, someone who provides more athleticism than the others, and has also been a staple in the closing lineup the past several games. However, Kuminga isn’t viewed as a Green replacement. Their skill sets are drastically different.

Chris Paul — who was viewed as a sixth man when he joined the Warriors this summer — could be another option for the starting lineup with some level of ballhandling and facilitating, which Green was providing.

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